About three or four years ago I made the decision to avoid buying band new or none-organic clothes and fabric for my textile items where I could possibly help it. I try to get all my clothes from clothes swaps, charity shops, vintage stores, and ebay. I buy my fabric from the same and scrap stores/the offcuts section in haberdashery shops, and have taken up an evening course in pattern drafting so that eventually I may be able to turn waste fabrics into clothes, thus saving them from landfill. The most challenging items to source are suitable waterproof footwear and sports wear (for example I unfortunately bought a new swimming costume last week as it is as of yet pretty difficult to find an organic costume for less than about £70, which sadly I can’t afford at the moment) and items like bras/underwear, but I hope that I will be able (and be able to afford!) to either make these items myself or invest in products from companies that have examined their environmental footprint and are making efforts to reduce it.
The reasons for this decision become pretty clear when you take a look at some of the statistics associated with fabric waste and pollution during garment production/after care which are illustrated in this piece from http://urbantimes.co – (visit the site to grab the code and share further!)
I note that the cost to the environment through shipping fabrics across the world, and the social injustice associated with unethical/unsafe factories haven’t been touched on within this list, so there are plenty of other reasons to consider buying second hand.
I would welcome any further ideas from readers of ways they have been able to save fabric or avoid buying new, and would love to hear of any more sustainable designers that you would recommend, especially those that specialise in shoes and sportswear!